September 5, 2010
The Best of the WWF Volume 15
Iím now three quarters of the way through the series with Best of the WWF Volume 15. After the terrible tape that was Volume 14, this one looks much better on paper with a couple of matches that I know are good in Glamour Girls/Bomb Angels, and Harts/Strike Force. If the rest does well, this could be a good one. Recycled Content Alert: I covered the Glamour Girls/Bomb Angels match in my Royal Rumble 88 review, so that match is cut and pasted from there in spite of being in the old long winded format.
Haku (w/Bobby Heenan & Tama) vs. Tito Santana (w/Rick Martel) (October 6, 1987, The Mecca, Milwaukee, WI)
The Setup: These two teams had been feuding since the Islanders attacked Santana and left him laying while he was doing Spanish commentary on Superstars, but itís only a singles match here with the partners at ringside.
The Action: Santana is pissed so he charges right in and attacks, clearing the ring. The crowd remains super hot for this as Santana works an armbar, so this was likely done early in the taping. Haku uses a throat thrust to take over, and controls with a couple of suplexes and a nerve hold. Santana comes back and hits the Flying Jalapeno, but the partners of course get involved and itís a double DQ at 6:35.
The Verdict: This was a good hot match before the cheap finish. Itís too bad they donít follow up with the tag match between these teams, because I think that would have been good. *1/2
WWF Tag Team Championship Match: The Hart Foundation (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Strike Force (October 27, 1987, Onondaga War Memorial, Syracuse, NY)
The Setup: This may in fact be better then Strike Force/Islanders actually. Strike Force was deemed number on contenders and thus get the title shot here. There was no feud to speak of between the two teams at this point.
The Action: Martel works over Bret to start and then Santana does the same to Anvil. Eventually Santana comes off the ropes and gets kneed from the apron by Bret and the Harts take over. They do a lot of the standard stuff like drawing Martel in so they can double team and switch, and having the illegal man beat Santana on the floor while the ref is distracted. They hit a decapitation for 2 and continue the double teaming until Santana reverses a corner whip and Bret hits chest first. Now Martel gets the hot tag and runs wild. A bodypress gets 2 on Anvil with Bret saving, so he gets tossed out. Martel and Santana hit a double slam on Anvil and then Martel hooks the Boston crab for the submission at 9:10 to win the Titles.
The Verdict: This was a great match for the standards of free TV. Canít really complain about anything here except maybe that it was too short, although thatís understandable since it was on Superstars. ***
King Kong Bundy vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/Oliver Humperdink) (November 11, 1987, Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA)
The Setup: They were going to be on opposite Survivor Series teams in a few weeks, so they go one on one here.
The Action: They start with a shoulderblock showdown, which Bigelow wins. Bundy takes control with a clothesline as Bobby Heenan runs out late for reasons unexplained. He ends up missing a splash and then Bigelow hits one of his own for the 3 count at 3:58. Jesse Ventura is on commentary and he protests that it was a fast count, which it was, but the decision stands.
The Verdict: It wasnít great, but it also wasnít terrible or anything, so Iíll go Ĺ*.
WWF Womenís Tag Team Championship Match: The Glamour Girls (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels (January 24, 1988, Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, ON)
Itís kind of weird that the Angels were brought in since they completely outclassed the entire WWF Womenís Division and I donít really know what Vince thought he could do with them. Leilani Kai and Judy Martin were paired up as opponents for them, and even given the previously mothballed Womenís Tag Team Titles so they would have an issue to fight over. Iíve also heard that having Jimmy Hart manage them was a total rib on Hart, but he went along with it all in good fun.
First Fall: The Angels hit a double dropkick right off the bat, and then we get going with Tateno and Kai. Tateno misses a dropkick and gets tossed around a bit. Tag to Martin who gets a slam, but is then rolled up for 2. Tag to Yamazaki who whips Martin off the ropes and nails a headbutt. She sets Martin up for a piledriver, but it ends up becoming a suplex. It gets a 1 count in any case. Tag back to Tateno who gets a DDT and hooks a bodyscissors. Martin makes it up and sends her off the ropes, but when Tateno tries a bodypress she gets caught and slammed. Martin misses an elbow, but is able to tag Kai. Tateno sends her off the ropes and hits a high knee before tagging Yamazaki. She gets a clothesline and a dropkick for 2, and then hooks the rare octopus version of the abdominal stretch. Martin tries to save, but ends up kicking her own partner instead and all four end up in the ring with the Angels hooking stereo figure fours. The illegal ones are soon out and Yamazaki works over Kaiís legs. Tag to Tateno who also works on the legs briefly before tagging back, and Kai is soon able to make the tag as well. Martin grabs a wristlock and sends Yamazaki to the corner and Yamazaki gets the boots up, but Martin catches her and drops her. Irish whip, and Yamazaki leapfrogs, but is caught with a knee from Kai on the apron. Martin hits a move that starts as a powerbomb, but ends up as a flapjack-like move which gets the pin to win the first fall at 6:11.
Second Fall: Martin and Yamazaki keep it going with Martin getting a hair toss and driving a knee to the throat. Tag to Kai who hits a clothesline and puts the boots to her for a 1 count when Yamazaki bridges out. Slam by Kai, but she misses a splash and the tag is made to Tateno. She gets a dropkick and clothesline, followed by another clothesline from the 2nd rope for 2. Bodypress also gets 2 and she makes the tag back to Yamazaki. They hit a double suplex, and now Martin comes in as well. The Angels end up getting whipped into each other, but when the champs charge, the Angels move so Kai and Martin run into each other. Yamazaki whips Kai off the ropes but gets shoulderblocked down. Kai tries a powerbomb, but this time Yamazaki slips out and she gets a rollup for 3 to tie the match at 8:08.
Third Fall: The Angels hit a couple of double clotheslines and Yamazaki gets 1 from them. Irish whip and a big boot hits, but Kai comes back with her own kick and tags Martin. Irish whip and a boot is caught, but Yamasaki gets an ensiguiri and tags Tateno. Martin whips her to the corner and Tateno tries to roll over and get a sunset flip, but no go. Martin nails a slingshot and tags Kai who gets a snapmare, necksnap, and some stomps. Double underhook suplex gets 2 and both teams make a tag. Martin gets a hiptoss and the champs get a double team in their corner. Tag to Kai who gets a snapmare for a couple of 1 counts, and then Yamazaki blocks an Irish whip and hits a couple of atomic drops for 2. Both teams tag again and a slam by Yamasaki allows Tateno to hit a top rope knee drop for 2. Slam also gets 2, as does a double underhook suplex to a bridge. Irish whip and bodypress get another near fall. Tateno gets a slam and tries a legdrop from the 2nd rope, but misses and Martin gets 2 from that. Yamazaki sweeps the legs and makes the tag. Tateno is in with a clothesline off the top for 2 as Kai makes the save. Both Angels now make their way to the top as the ref puts Kai out and they hit a double dropkick. That gets the 3 count for Tateno to win the titles at 13:59. Jesse protests, claiming that the shoulder was not down. Replay from a different angle confirms that itís off the mat, but Vince counters it by saying that the shoulderblade was down. He then ends the discussion by using his ďMr. McMahonĒ voice to tell Jesse to ďchill outĒ. That aside, this was really different from what WWF fans of the time were used to seeing. The Angels went out there and set a fast pace and helped introduce a few new moves not really seen in the WWF prior to this. Kudos to Martin and Kai for keeping up with them as well. ***
Mr. Fuji & Tiger Chung Lee vs. The Wild Samoans (July 7, 1984, Philadelphia Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA)
The Setup: Itís before my time so I donít know. If there was an issue here, the announcers explained nothing.
The Action: They start with an extended bit where Fuji hides the bag of salt from the ref, always staying one step ahead of his searches. They then clip to the Samoans working him over. Fuji gets a slam on Afa, but misses a top rope legdrop and tags out. Lee goes up too, but gets slammed off by Afa. Tag to Sika, but when Lee goes to tag, Fuji refuses and walks out. The Samoans then finish Lee off with a double headbutt at 5:19 (shown). Fuji attacks Lee afterwards, but Lee finds his kendo stick and sends Fuji running.
The Verdict: This was here more to show the breakup of Fuji and Lee as opposed to showing the match, which is apparently over 20 minutes uncut. So thereís not really enough here to rate it, but what was here was pretty lame.
WWF Womenís Championship Match: The Fabulous Moolah vs. Sherri Martel (July 24, 1987, Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TX)
The Setup: This appears to be Sherriís debut match, although she was AWA Womenís Champion before jumping here to the WWF, so thatís good enough to get her a Title shot.
The Action: Moolah controls almost all of it, and itís not very exciting as a result. Thereís also the issue of the crowd not liking Moolah, but Sherri doing nothing to get them behind her, so theyíre pretty dead. Sherri finally gets a comeback that consists of two slingshots before getting tossed. Moolah goes to slam her back in, but Sherri rolls through and gets the 3 count and the Title at 7:56.
The Verdict: This wasnít a spectacular way to kick off a new Title reign as they had a boring match with an out of nowhere finish, and although the crowd did pop for the Title change, they didnít really care prior to that. DUD
WWWF Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Ted Adams (February 20, 1978, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
The Setup: Studio host Gene Okerlund tells us that many fans have written in and asked to see a scientific match, so theyíve pulled this one from the archives. The Junior Heavyweight Title was created for Fujinami, and mostly defended in Japan, but here it makes one of its occasional trips back to the US, to I guess, give it legitimacy as being an actual WWWF Title. I canít find much info on Ted Adams as he seems to have been nothing more than a prelim guy for a few years in the late 70ís, and thatís about it.
The Action: The promised a scientific match, and they did deliver as neither guy plays heel and they trade holds and counters in a clean fashion. Of course this also demonstrates why the face/heel dynamic is so important, because itís not very exciting. Fujinami uses an airplane spin to dizzy up Adams and then finishes him with a German suplex at 13:45.
The Verdict: It was fine, but certainly nothing you need to run out and see. *1/2
Demolition (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Billy Jack Haynes & George ďThe AnimalĒ Steele (w/Ken Patera) (August 25, 1987, Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA)
The Setup: No particular reason, although it was supposed to be Ken Patera as Haynesí partner, but heís hurt so George Steele gets the call.
The Action: Haynes takes care of Ax to start with a crossbody and dropkick. Steele then gets the tag, but gets distracted by Fuji and attacked by Smash. He bites him to put an end to that and tags Haynes. Haynes gets worked over and the cane gets involved for choking. Steele gets the tag, but again gets distracted by Fuji. This time he takes a cane shot from the floor as well. They do the tag that the ref doesnít see, so Haynes get put out, but then he gets the hot tag a few seconds later anyways and runs wild. It quickly breaks down into a four way, and Fujiís cane gets involved yet again as Haynes gets nailed with it while holding Smash in the full nelson and pinned at 9:33.
The Verdict: This was actually fine as most of the usual nonsense with Steele was kept to a minimum and Haynes was good at taking a beating. *
Overall Thoughts: Well, the two tag matches I expected to be good, were in fact good, so thatís a plus. The rest of the tape doesnít have anything great, but Tito/Haku is fun and hot, albeit short, and the 70ís match was good in itís own way. Thereís also nothing I would call outright terrible, so I think that all together itís good enough for a mild Thumbs Up for Best of the WWF Volume 15, but with specific recommendations only for the two tag matches I mentioned.